I’m very pleased to welcome Jean Henry Mead back to the blog. Jean’s Made It Moment appears here. Today she shares some of the ins and outs of a topic that is increasingly relevant to authors as book tours become less common. You know the kind: you’re flown from city to city, wined and dined before the readers line up, ten deep to meet you. Oh? That doesn’t always happen? Well, as many of you know, I am a big fan of F2F book events, and plan to take the whole show on the road not too too long from now. But the power of a virtual tour shouldn’t be missed, and here Jean tell us why.
Virtual tours are great fun if you have time to prepare for them, but they can be a burden if you happen to be a procrastinator. I’ve taken part in three, the last one ending in August,with a dozen authors participating in a 12-week tour. My last two tours overlapped in May, which kept me so busy that I didn’t have time to do much writing.
The best part of virtual touring is meeting new readers and responding to those who have been reading your books all along. It’s an opportunity to learn what readers like about your work as well as what they would like to see in the future. Several of my tour visitors said they enjoy the humor of my mystery/suspense series, another said that her husband grabbed the book before she had a chance to read it. Still another thanked me for writing about women of the boomer generation. Their comments made all the work preparing for the tour worthwhile.
Long before you schedule your tour, you should regularly visit popular sites with large visitor numbers. While there, leave comments to introduce yourself to the host and her visitors—for at least two months. Then, when you ask the blog owner to host your tour, she’ll be much more receptive. A successful blog tour is planned months in advance, never at the last moment, and reminding blog hosts a few days before the tour begins of the dates you’ve previously agree upon is a good idea.
Articles written for each blog host should be varied or you run the risk of boring your visitors and losing them. You also need to be on hand each day to respond periodically to comments. That can present a problem for writers with a full time job.
When planning a group tour, make sure all the writers are compatible and that everyone’s going to take the tour seriously. That means getting articles in on time and creating the most attractive presentations possible for your fellow guest bloggers. That doesn’t always happen and can create anxiety among tour group members.
Another problem is writers dropping out in the middle of the tour for various reasons. Summer tours present problems of their own. Two of us had vacations scheduled during my last tour but we managed to maintain contact on laptops from RV parks. It’s not easy unless you’re committed to the team effort. So make sure you know who you’re going into partnership with because unknown writers can let the other members down.
Above all, go into your virtual tour with determination to do the best you’re capable of accomplishing as well as with consideration for your hosts. Have fun on your virtual tour and be sure to thank your hosts as well as your guests when you leave.
I’m looking forward to my Christmas tour, The Mystery We Write Blog Tour, will take place from November 25 through December 9, with 14 authors blogging at different sites each day. We’re already busy writing articles and answering interview questions well ahead of the holiday season. The tour has been well organized by Anne K. Albert, and my tour schedule is up at: http://jeansblogtour.blogspot.com. We’ll be giving away 14 mystery novels to blog visitors who leave comments at the various sites.
Jean Henry Mead writes mystery/suspense and western historical novels. She’s also an award-winning photojournalist published domestically as well as abroad. Among her writing industry jobs were editor of In Wyoming magazine as well as two small literary presses. She served as historian for Press Women, president of Wyoming Writers, national publicity director and secretary-treasurer for Western Writers of America, and is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Women Writing the West, Western Writers of America, Wyoming Writers, and Author’s Guild. She also has two blog sites: Mysterious Writers and Writers of the West and blogs regularly at Murderous Musings and Make Mine Mystery.